Great week for Aquinas U16s

By Staff Reporter
Aquinas 1 -- St Theresa's 1

Three games in six days is arduous enough for any team, let alone one coming off the back of a European adventure and an extra time victory in a cup semi-final, but this young side continues to prove they are not just any team.

The Blue ’n’ Blacks got off to a flyer in this fairly dour encounter with St Teresa’s at Boucher Road on Monday night.

On eight minutes, Thomas Cafolla continued his fine run of form with a clever finish to open the scoring from six yards after Joe Cunnane had nudged on a Matt Carson corner.

This allowed Aquinas to settle into a rhythm with Caolan Lynch very impressive, ensuring a very quiet half for keeper Conor O’Doherty.

Shots from Paddy O’Boyle and Ciaran Mohan almost doubled the lead as Aquinas played the ball through midfield.

Just on half time though, Niall McCourt had to be at his absolute best to clear off the line.

The second half was much like the first with Aquinas enjoying considerable advantage.

Man of the match Joe Cunnane was thwarted on no less than three occasions by some outstanding goalkeeping.

Matt Hughes also went close and a fine acrobatic overhead kick from Conor Toner just cleared the crossbar.

The somewhat predictable sting in the tail arrived with just four minutes left when St Teresa’s scored after some pinball in the penalty area.

So, a harsh lesson for the young Blue ’n’ Blacks.

 

Aquinas             2

Rosario             1

 

Fast forward 48 hours and despite the surroundings of Boucher Road being familiar there could not have been a sharper contrast in Wednesday’s weather conditions. Monsoon like rain and gales greeted the teams.

Nevertheless with Rosario sitting pretty at the top of the league, and Aquinas still in the hunt for second, this had anything but the feel of a routine end of season encounter.

Both teams went for it from the off with Conor Flynn dominating for Aquinas.

His aerial prowess really is something to be marvelled.

Man of the match, Conor Toner, put in an unbelievable shift and his clever combination with Joe Cunnane sent Paddy O’Boyle away to fire Aquinas into a 14 minute lead.

This seemed to jolt Rosario into action and after former Aquinas man Michael McGonigle went close, left back Dominic McConville equalised for the Roses on 26 minutes.

The second half was nip and tuck with Hugh O’Connor and Cormac O’Hanlon starring for Aquinas and Dan Devlin always a threat for Rosario.

The game’s decisive moment came with just eight minutes left when Martin Beeton’s astute knock down found Ciaran Mohan who made absolutely no mistake with a fine, low drive.

Keeper Kevin McGovern kept Aquinas in front with a reflex save in the dying moments as they held on to complete a magnificent double over Rosario who amazingly are unbeaten against every other team in the league. The sides will meet again in a much anticipated South Belfast cup final in the middle of May.

 

Red Star             0

Aquinas             5

 

Following the drama of Wednesday night’s victory over Rosario the match up with club mates Red Star was, somewhat surprisingly, a much more sedate affair at Hydebank.

Red Star started the brighter of the two teams with Konrad Stinson and Odhran O’Kane bringing the best out of Kevin McGovern in the Aquinas nets.

Kealan McAllister was at the heart of everything good about Star as they, with the breeze at their backs, took the game to Aquinas.

The Blue ’n’ Blacks slowly found their attacking groove as Dan Rainey’s delightful left foot became a real feature of the game. Paddy O’Boyle came closest to benefiting after a lovely Rainey pass saw him draw a great save from Red Star stopper Conal Moran before Tom Maguire settled any growing Aquinas frustration with the opening goal

McGovern can claim an assist after picking out Maguire with a supremely accurate kick out enabling him to flick a sublime volley over the outrushing Moran.

The second followed just on the half time whistle and again it was Maguire who ran on to a great through ball from Matt Hughes and coolly slotted home.

The second half was more mundane but was lit up by the unbelievable touch of midfielder Peter Morgan. He teed up man of the match Maguire for his seventh hat-trick of an incredible season. The scoring was rounded off in the last ten minutes with good finishes by the two Matts, Carson and Hughes, capping a good day and a great week for Aquinas.

 

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